by LCP Global


Which comes first, success or happiness?

Book Review

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles That Fuel Success and Performance at Work.

Shawn Achor, 2011.

We think: If I just get that raise, or hit that next sales target, I’ll be happy. If I can just get that next good grade, I’ll be happy. If I lose that five pounds, I’ll be happy. And so on. Success first, happiness second. The only problem is that this formula is broken.[i]

It is about learning how to cultivate the mindset and behaviors that have been empirically proven to fuel greater success and fulfillment.[ii]

It is drilled into us from a young age; if we work hard we’ll achieve success and be happy. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with working hard, as there is a strong link between achievement and effort. However, as declared by Achor, empirical evidence reveals that happiness and optimism significantly fuel performance and achievement, not the other way around.

I have often been quite driven in my work and, at times, it has had a negative impact on myself, my family and those I work with. I found myself agreeing with Achor’s insight that many of us have sacrificed happiness for success, only to see it result in greater levels of stress, pressure, and ultimately, a decline in performance.[iii]

Don’t mistake this for a ‘feel-good’ book that aims to make leadership and performance effortless. Achor presents seven principles that fuel success and performance at work. He identifies the importance of positivity, adjusting your mind-set, overcoming negative patterns of thinking, and tells us how to replace old habits with good habits.

One of the challenges many leaders face is that as their responsibilities increase, the quality of their relationships decline – at a time when relational currency is most needed. In contrast, Achor presents evidence showing that the most successful people invest in their friends, peers, and family to propel them forward.[iv]

What fuels your happiness and success? (Leave a comment below)


[i] Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles That Fuel Success and Performance at Work (London, United Kingdom: Virgin Books, 2011), 3.

[ii] Ibid., 24.

[iii] Ibid., 15.

[iv] Ibid., 171.


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